Having trouble getting into the studio to create? Here are a few tried-and-true tricks I’ve developed. Trot these out when you need that extra push to get in the flow, too. We all do.
1. Make Your Creative Space a Pleasure to Be In. Set up your studio so it’s a retreat from all else, a special place you’ll do nothing else in except create. Make it a space that has your treasures, your personality and your touchstones in it, and throw in any inspirational, musical or relaxation touches that put you in the chill zone. When your creating space is a place you love, it will become the place you can’t wait to get to each day, and make the creative flow a lot more likely to happen naturally.
2. Define Some Boundaries and Set Some Limits. Tell yourself you are only allowed to [insert your approach here: paint, compose, sketch, write poems, whatever jazzes you] and that you can only do it for [insert a defined time here] a certain number of hours. It creates an urgency, but also gives you some freedom. You know what you can/cannot do, and that there’s an end in sight (be that good or bad).
3. Practice Selective Avoidance. Always have something on hand that you’d rather not be doing. Don’t want to pay bills, iron, call your ornery aunt? Perfect. Just create instead. Procrastination is a powerful creative tool when used for positive effect.
4. Use Your Crutches to Help You Stand Up. Do you create better with a fresh pot of strong coffee, a cool glass of white wine, your favorite mix playing in your headset? Use your crutches to prop yourself up as you get started. Getting started is often the most difficult impediment to creating, so once you get started, you’re more likely to keep going.
5. Stick With Your Flow. Follow your natural rhythms of the day, and choose the times to create when your mood is ripe for it. We’re so used to the 9-to-5 grind that when we have a chance to be creative, we remain stuck in that timeframe—even though it may not be the right time for our flow. Figure out when your optimum flow time is, and go with it. You might even try blocking it in on your calendar, just like any other time-sensitive task. Because creating with ease is very time-sensitive, and rarely responds to others’ pre-conceived schedules.
6. Honor Your Influences. When you’re in the habit of looking to your influences for inspiration, you’ll find a natural synergy with them will arise. You may even find yourself responding and creating a rapport that becomes your start point for creating something new.
7. Work Alone, But With Community. Finding a community of like-minded creative spirits—whether they’re on Twitter, or writing #MondayBlogs, or publishing on Medium, or hosting a plein air session, or swapping chapters in a writers group—is essential to creativity. Sharing what you know is, too, because it’s in the sharing that the revelations come to you, and when the connections are made. Yes, ultimately you create alone (in that pleasurable creative space you’ve made). But you find inspiration in life. And it’s so much easier to do it with the support and motivation you can find within your tribe. ♣